Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket
Stephen Fay, David Kynaston
WINNER OF THE TELEGRAPH CRICKET BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2019
‘Beautifully written, meticulously researched and stuffed with rich sporting and social history … Unputdownable’ Mail on Sunday
After the Second World War, as the BBC tightened its grip on the national consciousness, two of the most famous English voices were commentators on games of cricket. John Arlott and E.W. (‘Jim’) Swanton transformed the broadcasting of the nation’s summer game into a national institution.
Arlott and Swanton typified the contrasting aspects of post-war Britain. Because of their strong personalities and distinctive voices – Swanton’s crisp and upper-class, Arlott’s with its Hampshire burr – each had a loyal following. As England moved from a class-based to a more egalitarian society, nothing stayed the same – including professional cricket. Wise, lively and filled with rich social and sporting history, Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket shows how, as the game entered a new era, these two very different men battled to save the soul of the game.
Those old enough will welcome a wonderful insight into the cricketing voices of their childhood. Arlott, Swanton and the Soul of English Cricket reflects upon two titans of cricket journalism and broadcasting. Youngsters can discover them for the first time. Stephen Fay and David Kynaston combine seamlessly to produce a gem of a book -- Vic Marks * Observer 'Books of the Year' * Magnificent ... One of the best cricket books I've read in years: it makes long-forgotten matches live and breathe as though they were played yesterday -- Marcus Berkmann * Daily Mail 'Books of the Year' * A chronicle of 20th-century class difference, elegantly observed through the lives of the two men and their attitudes towards their beloved sport -- Emma John * Guardian 'Books of the Year' * A wonderfully readable and illuminating account of the game in the last half of the 20th century ... Beautifully written, meticulously researched and stuffed with rich sporting and social history, this must already be a candidate for Sports Book of the Year. Unputdownable -- Michael Simkins * Mail on Sunday * A triumph ... [Kynaston and Fay] both have inside-outside sensitivities that keep this near-seamless collaboration shrewd, worldly, balanced and fresh * Times Literary Supplement * [A] delightful and thoughtful book ... A nostalgic delight * Standpoint * John Arlott and EW Swanton defined cricket commentary in the second half of the 20th century ... As this wonderful biography shows, they were united by their love of the spirit of cricket, and stood together in resisting anything that compromised it, from bullying moguls to racism * Daily Telegraph * An important account of English cricket through the post-war decades from the glorious summer of 1947 to one-day cricket and Packer ... Cricket has always produced literature that weaves together sport and society and this book certainly presents an insight into post-war England that reaches far beyond the boundary rope * Country Life * A historian of peerless sensitivity and curiosity about the lives of individuals -- Praise for David Kynaston * Financial Times * John Arlott and EW Swanton were the voices of English cricket for much of the post-war years. This insightful, provocative book gently teases out the differences in their styles, backgrounds and personalities and shows why all this mattered in a society defined by class and in a sport riven by it -- Hugh MacDonald * Herald *
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